New SF bookstore devoted to rescuing out-of-print sf books and making them into free ebooks

Singularity & Co is a new Brooklyn based science fiction bookstore with a mission: based on the Kickstarter project that provided its seed funding, the store is devoted to rescuing one customer-chosen, out-of-print sf book from obscurity by buying the rights to publish it online as a free ebook.

We love books. A lot. And we love sci-fi books, new and old. But mostly old. And there are a lot of great old sci-fi books out there that are out of print, out of circulation, and, worst of all, not available in any sort of digital format. Given the subject material, that’s just not right. So here’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to open a bookshop, both online and in real life, in Brooklyn, NY where we live and work. It doesn’t have to make much money. It doesn’t have to make any money at all, since our day jobs cover our rent.

But what it will do is let us choose one great out of print work or classic and/or obscure sci-fi a month, track down the people that hold the copyright (if they are still around), and publish that work online and on all the major digital book platforms for little or no cost. Every month on this website visitors will get to vote on the next great but not so well remembered work we will rescue from the obscurity of the past.

Singularity & Co (via


  1. I wish they’d rescue ORA:CLE. I feel it is unfairly forgotten, and in some aspects, describes a lot of our daily life and telework. But is has no ninjas, so, forgotten it is.

  2. ORA:CLE by Kevin O’Donnell, Jr?  Published in 1984 by Berkley?  Hey, suggest it to them!

    1. Yeah, that one. To me, that book is way better than Neuromancer (and I loved Neuromancer). You gotta be a genius to make the plot work and make it interesting even if the hero never goes outside his condo. 

      I was going to suggest it, but at this moment, cannot really afford the subscription level they are asking to be able to submit. SO I post it here and maybe somebody thinks it’s a good idea.

    1. Google’s plan was to publish the orphan works first, and take them down if a copyright owner appeared out of the woodwork (or pay royalties to said owner.) A good plan but did not survive contact with the enemy.

      S&Co. are apparently looking up the copyright holders _first_, before publishing. That may be hard to do, but if they send out feelers for lots of books in parallel, they may be able to get one or two a month cleared.

      1. Yep, that’s what we’re doing. It’s a bit labor intensive, but with our strong and ever growing subscriber base, we’re happy to do it. Plus, we get to play sci fi book detectives and pretend it’s work.

  3. I think you should amend the title of this post to remove the word “free”. Their about page says that the ebooks will be free as in “little or no cost”. Their legal page says “The license for each ebook distributed by the Companies may vary, and you must comply with the terms of each individual ebook’s license.” And you don’t appear to be able to download any books from them without going through a registration wall.

    It’s nice they’re rescuing out of print books from oblivion, but there doesn’t seem to be any solid commitment to free-as-in-freedom, or even free-as-in-zero-cost (or for that matter privacy) in their operation.

    1. Yes. Since Ash seems to be watching, I’d like to hear what Singularity & Co. think “free” is supposed to mean, given the context of subscribing to suggest books and paying for the eventual book. I’m glad this is being done, but why and how is it being called “free”?

      1. To make it clear for others: “free” access only comes once you make a minimum contribution. It’s like the “free” mug you get if you donate to NPR, I guess.

  4. Ash:
    Re your current list, I am quite sure Octavia Butler’s Lilith’s Brood is in print and available, since I’ve been reading the trilogy this year, and it’s also in a Kindle edition (search on Amazon), so IMHO you have slim odds of getting the rights. 

    On the positive side, you’ve got some truly great books on your current list which I’m sure many modern SF fans have never heard of.  Pavane, for one, is an understated and under-rated masterpiece of alt history.  Needle is a classic of cat-and-mouse.  John D. MacDonald – I don’t know the novel you list, but I’d go for Wine of the Dreamers as the first choice of his SF to bring back in print.

    Is The Final Programme really out of print?  It’s hard to believe, but on a quick search, it does look as if all of the Jerry Cornelius novels, and the various compendia of them, might be out of print.  Huh.

    May I recommend the writer Margaret St. Clair to your attention, especially The Shadow People? Obscure, but still pretty easy to find used, and it’s aged remarkably well in my opinion (even the political climate of the setting.)

    1.  re: Pavane

      Wildside Press republished The Inner Wheel in 2000 (The first story of which remains one of my favourite short SF stories ever).

      I got the impression that they had designs on Keith Roberts’ other stuff, including Pavane.  Don’t know if they got around to it.

  5. Looks like someone didn´t clean up their vectors before putting an outline on that logo. Great project though!

  6. It’s borderline SF, but nonetheless I’d cast my vote for Charles G. Finney’s The Unholy City.

  7. Wow, I’m shocked at some of the stuff that’s out of print.  I hope that someday they can turn their attention to the old WINSTON SF collection.  That was an excellent gateway drug, and the handful I’ve bene able to re-find (hey, THE YEAR STARDUST FELL is on Gutenberg?  squee!) have held up pretty well.

    Meanwhile, I continue to hope to stumble across FIVE AGAINST VENUS and ATTACK FROM ATLANTIS at a yard sale.  .  .

  8. My father and I have a large collection of SciFi/Fantasy books, many of them from the 60s/70s. Next time I visit (my books live with him, because my apartment just isn’t big enough), is there any way I can look up which are out of print and contribute to the project?

    1. “is there any way I can look up which are out of print”

      The same thought occurred to me as I read through the comments.

      Is there an online source to determine—with some haste, might I add—if a book I happen upon at a yard sale is out of print?

      1. is a decent source for that kind of info. You can search for a book, see all editions, and which libraries near you have it on hand. It takes a little poking around and searching to get the print info, but it’s a solid resource.

  9. >From the stated plans, I can’t tell whether these ebookswill respect readers’ freedom as much as printed books do.See for what the issues are.Can anyone tell whether these books might have DRM?Can anyone tell whether these books might have EULAs?

  10. You should do this project from a less expensive location.
    All this kickstarter money will going paying for crazy NYC rents! 
    Move to the mid-west!  You’ll have a much easier time getting this business going.

  11. Not SF but Merlin’s Magic by Helen Clare is not only out of print but second hand copies sell at >£1,500 .  I’d happily pay £50 for an e-copy.

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